Kept Secret cover
Kept Secret
The Half-Truth in Nonfiction
Edited by Jen Hirt, and Tina Mitchell
Creative nonfiction writers wrestle constantly with the boundaries of creative license—what to reveal, when to reveal it, and how best to do it. While the truth may inspire us to make confident assertions, secrets, lies, and half-truths inspire us to delve further into our own writing to discover the heart of the story. The pieces in this collection feature essayists who do this type of detective work. Each essay contains a secret, lie, or half-truth—some of these are revealed by the author, but others remain buried. Ranging from the deep family secret to the little white lie, from the shocking to the humorous, and from the straightforward revelation to the slanted half-truth, these essays ask us to appreciate the magnitude of keeping a secret. They also ask us to consider the obstacles writers must overcome if they want to write about secrets in their own lives and the lives of others. In short interviews following each essay the contributors discuss craft, ethics, creativity, and how they eventually decided to reveal—or not reveal—a secret.
Publication Date: June 1st, 2017
226 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Jen Hirt is an Assistant Professor at Penn State Harrisburg. She is the author of the memoir Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees and coeditor of Creating Nonfiction: Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers.  

Tina Mitchell is an Adjunct Instructor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is the founder of The Turnip Truck(s), an evolving graphic landscape for essayists, artists, and theorists interested in the dialectics of the human and its environments.  

Early Praise

Kept Secret is an engaging collection of essays about what we reveal and when we reveal it, how we shape and are shaped by our memories, and the varied ways we all tell true stories about ourselves and others. All grapple with the full truth of half-truths in ways that make a reader think and feel more deeply. The short interviews that follow each essay offer additional insights as well as the writer's intentions; together, they create a kaleidoscopic and yet transparent view of how nonfiction works when it works really well.”
Anna Leahy, coauthor of Generation Space: A Love Story and author of Tumor

“Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior opens with her mother’s admonition: “You must not tell anyone.” But of course she does tell, as narrative must. Jen Hirt and Tina Mitchell’s timely, finely tuned collection gives us entry into the most confidential of matters, nonfiction’s divulged secret.”
Marcia Aldrich, author of Companion to an Untold Story


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